Kerosene, 2011, Ball Pen and Metal on Paperboard, 38 x 46 cm each


Kerosine, Shahram Entekhabi © 2011 (شهرام انتخابی) Kerosine, Shahram Entekhabi © 2011 (شهرام انتخابی) Kerosine, Shahram Entekhabi © 2011 (شهرام انتخابی)

Kerosene is a work on paper and an amalgam of ink, colored pencil, ballpoint pen and metallic dust and consists of Entekhabi’s well recognized iconography derived from his Persian ancestry: the sinuous and sensuous figures of men and women in garb associated with his cultural heritage are articulated with delicate handiwork. Curvaceous bodies intertwine as well as disperse across the picture plane in compositional sophistication as representational and abstract elements spill and spiral here and there in an organic and ecstatic fluidity. What appears to be a drum of petroleum, which is intrinsic to the (political) economies of Arabic states and the West as well, spills on its side; but it, and its contents are made of reflective metal and its spillage morphs into the shape of a kerosene repository. The polyvalence of the work is inescapable: Entekhabi offers a reframing of Aladdin’s lamp and the fabled One Thousand and One Nights. But his citation of iconic Arabian literature becomes a flashpoint in addressing the conditions of social relations within contemporary culture: men in conservative attire rub up against a woman in sunglasses with headscarf underscoring an historical dichotomy between male and female, and their respective analogues: culture/nature, tradition/modernity, and orthodoxy/heterodoxy. To accentuate these cultural and historical antagonisms even further, women shape-shift into an array of creatures amounting to an anthro-zoomorphic bestiary. This work, while indubitably part of the exhibition is related to other works that are similarly titled including Kerosene 1, Kerosene 2, and Kerosene 3 I (all 2011).

* Raúl Taylor Zamudio is a New York-based independent curator, art critic, art historian and educator.

Published in Catalogue of the Exhibition:"Nothing Gold can Stay", Shahram Entekhabi, 2011, solo show, Other Gallery, Beijing, China